March Madness: The Last 5 Winners
We deep dived into the last 5 winners of March Madness, with stats and general discussion points to give you an idea of what a winner of March Madness looks like! Read on below…
March Madness is one of the most exciting times of the year for college basketball fans, as 68 teams compete in a single-elimination tournament to determine the national champion. The tournament is known for its unpredictability, with underdogs and upsets occurring regularly. In this article, we will look at the last five winners of March Madness, discussing their path to the championship and the key stats and players that helped them succeed.
2017: North Carolina Tar Heels
The North Carolina Tar Heels won their sixth national championship in 2017, defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs 71-65 in the championship game. The Tar Heels finished the season with a 33-7 record and were led by a strong group of veteran players, including Joel Berry II, Kennedy Meeks, and Justin Jackson.
In the championship game, the Tar Heels were led by Berry II, who scored 22 points and was named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player. Meeks also had a strong game, recording 7 points and 10 rebounds, while Jackson added 16 points.
Throughout the tournament, the Tar Heels were dominant on the offensive glass, recording 133 offensive rebounds in their six games. This allowed them to extend possessions and generate second-chance opportunities, which proved to be a key factor in their success.
2018: Villanova Wildcats
The Villanova Wildcats won their second national championship in three years in 2018, defeating the Michigan Wolverines 79-62 in the championship game. The Wildcats finished the season with a 36-4 record and were led by a dynamic duo of guards, Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges.
In the championship game, Brunson and Bridges led the way for the Wildcats, scoring 18 and 19 points, respectively. Donte DiVincenzo also had a strong game off the bench, scoring 31 points and being named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player.
The Wildcats were one of the best offensive teams in the country, averaging 86.6 points per game and shooting 50.1% from the field during the season. They continued this strong offensive play throughout the tournament, scoring over 70 points in all six of their games.
2019: Virginia Cavaliers
The Virginia Cavaliers won their first national championship in 2019, defeating the Texas Tech Red Raiders 85-77 in overtime in the championship game. The Cavaliers finished the season with a 35-3 record and were led by a strong group of players, including Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome, and De’Andre Hunter.
In the championship game, Guy led the way for the Cavaliers, scoring 24 points and being named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player. Hunter also had a strong game, scoring 27 points, including a game-tying three-pointer in the closing seconds of regulation.
The Cavaliers were one of the best defensive teams in the country, allowing just 55.1 points per game during the season. They continued this strong defensive play throughout the tournament, holding all six of their opponents under 70 points.
2020: No Winner
The 2020 NCAA Tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, marking the first time in the tournament’s history that a champion was not crowned.
2021: Baylor Bears
The 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, also known as March Madness, was one of the most exciting and unpredictable in recent memory. The tournament, which was held from March 15 to April 4, 2022, saw 68 teams from across the United States compete for the championship title. In the end, it was the Baylor Bears who emerged as the champions, winning their first-ever national title in men’s basketball.
Baylor’s Path to the Championship Baylor, which was the No. 1 seed in the South region, had a dominant run to the championship game. The team won all of its tournament games by double digits, including blowout victories over Villanova, Arkansas, and Houston. In the championship game, Baylor faced off against the Gonzaga Bulldogs, who were the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament and entered the game with a perfect 31-0 record.
The Championship Game
In the championship game, Baylor came out firing and never looked back. The Bears took an early lead and never relinquished it, thanks to a balanced offensive attack and suffocating defense. Baylor held Gonzaga to just 23 points in the first half and 70 points for the game, well below the Bulldogs’ season average of 91.6 points per game.
Baylor’s offensive stars in the championship game were guard Jared Butler and forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, who scored 22 and 15 points, respectively. Butler was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four for his stellar play throughout the tournament.
Baylor’s Season Stats
Baylor’s dominant performance in the tournament was a reflection of its strong play throughout the season. The team finished the regular season with a 21-2 record and won the Big 12 Conference regular-season title. Baylor’s high-powered offense was one of the best in the country, averaging 84.4 points per game, which ranked 6th in the nation.
But what really set Baylor apart was its defense, which was one of the best in the country. The team allowed just 65.2 points per game, which ranked 19th in the nation. Baylor’s defense was especially effective at forcing turnovers, as the team averaged 9.1 steals per game, which ranked 5th in the nation.
Baylor’s success was due in large part to the play of its star players. Jared Butler was the team’s leading scorer, averaging 16.7 points per game. He was also an excellent playmaker, averaging 4.8 assists per game. Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua was the team’s leading rebounder, averaging 7.1 rebounds per game. He was also a force on the defensive end, averaging 1.1 blocks per game.
Other key players for Baylor included guards Adam Flagler and MaCio Teague, who both averaged over 14 points per game. Forward Matthew Mayer was also an important contributor, averaging 11.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
Baylor’s championship run in the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament was a testament to the team’s talent, depth, and commitment to playing strong defense. With a balanced offensive attack and stifling defense, the Bears were able to dominate their opponents and win their first-ever national title in men’s basketball. As the team looks ahead to next season, they will have to replace several key players, including Jared Butler, but the program has established itself as one of the best in the country and is sure to remain a contender in future tournaments.
2022: Kansas Jayhawks
The Kansas Jayhawks won the 2022 NCAA tournament, and they did it with a record-setting comeback and a total team effort.
Sixth man Remy Martin was the star in the early going with a 20-point game against Creighton in the second round and a 23-point showing against Providence in the Sweet 16. He knocked down four three-pointers on Monday night and finished with 14 points in 21 minutes.
Center David McCormack had a season-high 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting against Villanova in the Final Four, and he came up big again with 15 points and 10 rebounds while overcoming some early foul trouble.
Christian Braun struggled in the first half but came out aggressive to start the second half to help spark the comeback. He ultimately finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds while playing all 40 minutes. Jalen Wilson added 15 points and Dajuan Harris Jr. played his usual stellar defense.
In the end, it was Big 12 Player of the Year and first-team All-American Ochai Agbaji who took home NCAA tournament Most Outstanding Player honors, with his 21-point showing against Villanova on 6-of-7 from beyond the arc as his signature performance.
Going into the tournament, Kansas was seeded No. 1 in the Midwest, while UNC was seeded No. 8 in the East. As an eighth seed, North Carolina was tied for the lowest-ranked team to reach the final since seeding began in the late 1970s.
General Discussion Points
Looking at the last five winners of March Madness, a few key themes emerge:
- Strong guard play is crucial: In each of the last five tournaments, the championship team has been led by a dynamic backcourt duo. Players like Joel Berry II and Jalen Brunson have shown that having experienced, talented guards is essential to making a deep run in the tournament.
- Defense wins championships: While offense often gets more attention in college basketball, it’s clear that strong defense is just as important in March Madness. Teams like Virginia and Baylor have shown that playing lockdown defense can help overcome even the most potent offenses.
- Balance is key: The most successful teams in recent years have been well-rounded, with contributions coming from all parts of the roster. Villanova’s deep bench and Baylor’s balanced scoring are examples of how having multiple players capable of making an impact can make all the difference in March.
- Anything can happen: While there are certainly trends and patterns to be found in the last five tournaments, the nature of March Madness means that upsets and surprises are always possible. Whether it’s a 16-seed knocking off a 1-seed or a mid-major making a deep run, the unpredictability of the tournament is what makes it so exciting.
The last five winners of March Madness have shown that there are many different paths to the championship, but strong guard play, defense, and balance are all crucial elements of a successful tournament run. While it’s impossible to predict what will happen in the 2023 tournament, these trends can give us an idea of what to look for in the coming weeks. As always, anything can happen in March Madness, and that’s what makes it one of the most thrilling and unpredictable events in sports.